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A ‘Hamilton’ timeline: How a single song grew into a global musical juggernaut

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Superfans arriving to the theater dressed in 18th century garb. Voluminous online analyses of song lyrics. Ticket-buying frenzies. They’ve all become par for the course in the ever-popular world of “Hamilton.” The road to musical success, however, has been long and winding, forcing creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to be nothing if not young, scrappy and hungry over the last decade. Here’s a timeline.

April 26, 2004

In the beginning

Ron Chernow’s 800-plus-page “Alexander Hamilton” is published by Penguin Press. The biography becomes a bestseller and the catalyst for nationwide interest in this American Founding Father and first U.S. Treasury secretary.

The cover of Ron Chernow's book, which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton."
The cover of Ron Chernow’s book, which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” (Penguin Press)

July 2008

Inspiration hits

Lin-Manuel Miranda is vacationing in Mexico, on a break from performing in his musical “In the Heights.” He reads Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, and the wheels start turning …

https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/610440904453844993/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theatermania.com%2Fnew-york-city-theater%2Fnews%2F8-years-of-hamilton-via-lin-manuels-twitter_73635.html

May 12, 2009

Headed to the White House

Lin-Manuel Miranda performs at a “White House evening of poetry, music and the spoken word” — an evening the L.A. Times calls a “White House poetry jam.” He debuts a song, “Alexander Hamilton,” and earns a standing ovation. “I’m actually working on a hip-hop album,” Miranda says during the evening. “It’s a concept album about the life of someone I think embodies hip-hop: Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.”

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Writer and star of the Broadway musical “In the Heights,” Lin-Manuel Miranda performs “The Hamilton Mixtape” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 1.

Jan. 11, 2012

Hip-hop song cycle

Lin-Manuel Miranda debuts songs from his work in progress, “The Hamilton Mixtape,” at the Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. As part of the “hip-hop song cycle” that evening, Miranda performs with Gavin Creel (later a Tony winner for “Hello, Dolly!”), James Monroe Iglehart (later a Tony winner for “Aladdin”) and two future stars of “Hamilton,” Mandy Gonzalez (Angelica Schuyler) and Christopher Jackson (George Washington).

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Alexander Hamilton was born on this day in 1757. Five years ago today in a performance for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, Lin-Manuel Miranda presented 12 songs from a new project.

March 6, 2014

Public Theater — and a name change

The Public Theater in New York announces the off-Broadway premiere of “The Hamilton Mixtape,” now being called “Hamilton,” as part of its 2014-15 season. The show continues to be developed under director Thomas Kail in workshops at the Public.

Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, where Lin-Manuel Miranda developed "The Hamilton Mixtape" into a musical.
Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, where Lin-Manuel Miranda developed “The Hamilton Mixtape” into a musical. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

July 29, 2014

The first ticket frenzy

With buzz already building, tickets for the Public’s premiere of “Hamilton” go on sale, and Miranda is “overwhelmed” by the response.

https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel/status/494321953067368448

Jan. 20, 2015

Opening night

Hamilton has its off-Broadway opening at the Public, with Miranda playing Alexander Hamilton. Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty calls it “one of the freshest musicals to come around since ‘Rent’ burst onto the scene two decades ago.” The run at the Public ends May 3.

Lin-Manuel Miranda surrounded by the company of "Hamilton" at the Public Theater in New York.
Lin-Manuel Miranda surrounded by the company of “Hamilton” at the Public Theater in New York. (Joan Marcus)

July 13, 2015

Moving on up

“Hamilton” transfers to Broadway and settles in at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Lin-Manuel Miranda surrounded by his core "Hamilton" creative team, from left: Director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbeuhler and musical director Alex Lacamoire, photographed at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in July 2015.
Lin-Manuel Miranda surrounded by his core “Hamilton” creative team, from left: Director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbeuhler and musical director Alex Lacamoire, photographed at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in July 2015. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Aug. 6, 2015

The Great White Way

“Hamilton” has its official opening night on Broadway, to great acclaim. Charles McNulty cites it as among the year’s best theater, bringing “new currency to an art form too long enthralled to dopey movie adaptations and jukebox nostalgia.”

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and the ensemble of "Hamilton" at the Richard Rodgers.
Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and the ensemble of “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers. (Joan Marcus)

Sept. 28, 2015

It’s official: He’s a genius

The MacArthur Foundation names Miranda in its 2015 class of “genius grant” fellows, citing his efforts to reimagine American theater. About “Hamilton” the foundation says: “The daring pairing of street culture with America’s founding narrative recalls the youthful, defiant spirit of the American Revolution, and cross-racial casting connects the present day to the diverse immigrant society of the 13 rebel colonies.”

Feb. 15, 2016

Snagging a Grammy

“Hamilton” wins the Grammy Award for musical theater album. In his acceptance speech, Miranda raps his thank-yous. As part of the televised ceremony, the Broadway cast performs “Alexander Hamilton” live via satellite — a first for the Grammys. The evening, the L.A. Times says, was swept with “Hamilton fever.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda onstage during the 58th Grammy Awards.
Lin-Manuel Miranda onstage during the 58th Grammy Awards. (Theo Wargo)

Spring 2016

More awards pile up

April 18, 2016: “Hamilton” wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

May 3, 2016: “Hamilton” receives 16 Tony nominations, breaking the record of 15 nominations held by “The Producers.”

May 20, 2016: “Hamilton” wins outstanding production of a Broadway or off-Broadway musical at the Drama League Awards, where Miranda also wins the evening’s distinguished performance award.

June 12, 2016: “Hamilton” wins 11 Tony Awards, including the evening’s top honor, best musical.

Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Tony Awards.
Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Tony Awards. (Theo Wargo / Getty Images)

Sept. 27, 2016

Chicago!

With “Hamilton” still running strong on Broadway, a second production begins previews in Chicago at the PrivateBank Theatre with Miguel Cervantes in the role as Alexander Hamilton and Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr. Chicago celebrates its opening night Oct. 19.

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The Founding Fathers begin their shift west …
Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr in the Chicago production.
Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr in the Chicago production. (Joan Marcus)

Oct. 21, 2016

‘Hamilton’ on PBS

“Hamilton” has become such a cultural phenomenon that PBS premieres the documentary “Hamilton’s America.” The show, directed by Alex Horwitz, looks at the making of the musical and is the season premiere of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.

Dec. 2, 2016

Mixtape, full circle

The musical that started life as a mixtape actually gets released as “The Hamilton Mixtape,” with the likes of Alicia Keys, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, Kelly Clarkson, Usher, Sia, Jill Scott, Jimmy Fallon & the Roots and others delivering their renditions of “Hamilton” songs.

March 2017

Planting a flag in the Golden State

“Hamilton” arrives in California. Preview performances begin at San Francisco’s SHN Orpheum Theatre on March 10, with opening night on March 23.

"Hamilton" in San Francisco with Amber Iman, left, and Emmy Raver-Lampman lifting her glass as Angelica Schuyler.
“Hamilton” in San Francisco with Amber Iman, left, and Emmy Raver-Lampman lifting her glass as Angelica Schuyler. (Joan Marcus)

July 31, 2017

Early arrival in L.A.

At 4:45 a.m., the first trucks pull into the Hollywood Pantages Theatre to unload and install advance pieces of the L.A. set while the production is still playing in San Francisco.

Trucks carrying the "Hamilton" advance set.
Trucks carrying the “Hamilton” advance set. (Deborah Vankin / Los Angeles Times)

Aug. 5, 2017

It’s a wrap in San Fran

The final perfomance in San Francisco means the production can pack up and hit hit the road for L.A. on the morning of Aug. 7.

"Hamilton's" run at the Orpheum ends.
“Hamilton’s” run at the Orpheum ends. (Deborah Vankin / Los Angeles Times)

Aug. 11, 2017

Pantages readies itself for preview No. 1

“Hamilton” previews are set to begin Aug. 11. The Pantages has installed 6,000 square yards of new red carpet for the run, and crews have been prepping the set and loading other rigging, costumes and props.

A moving crew installs advance pieces of the set at the Pantages.
A moving crew installs advance pieces of the set at the Pantages. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Aug. 16, 2017

A Hollywood opening

“Hamilton” is set for opening night in Los Angeles, with Michael Luwoye as Hamilton and Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr. At long last, Los Angeles is “the room where it happens.”

The Pantages, photographed in the run-up to opening night.
The Pantages, photographed in the run-up to opening night. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Nov. 21, 2017

London calling

Previews are scheduled to begin for a British production at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

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Listen to the song “Alexander Hamilton.”

Jan. 2, 2018

San Diego and beyond

After L.A., the “Hamilton” national tour moves on to the San Diego Civic Theatre. The following month, a second national tour kicks off in Seattle.

The San Diego Civic Theatre, where previews begin Jan. 2.
The San Diego Civic Theatre, where previews begin Jan. 2. (David Ng / Los Angeles Times)

Find all of our latest “Hamilton” national tour news at latimes.com/hamilton.

MORE ‘HAMILTON’:

Behind the scenes of the national tour

A critic’s take on why ‘Hamilton’ matters more than ever

Oskar Eustis on how a YouTube video went on to change theater history

Tickets: The $10 lottery and other ways to score seats

Meet Aaron Burr: Why ‘Hamilton’ brings actor Joshua Henry to tears

Meet Angelica Schuyler: How Emmy Raver-Lampman rose into the spotlight

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